Union Protests Disrupt Opening of Sunset Park High School

Jack Redden, a Local 94 Representative, leads union members in a protest near the entrance to Sunset Park High.

Jack Redden, a Local 94 Representative, protesting near the entrance to Sunset Park High.

BY PAULA NEUDORF

The grand opening of the first public high school in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, was ushered in by a towering inflatable rat. As chattering ninth-graders filed into the building for their first day of school in the brand-new facility, members of the engineer’s union Local 94 chanted slogans near the school’s entrance.

The demonstration is the result of a dispute over the school’s hiring practices. Raymond Krawiec, a member of Local 94, said he was initially hired as the school’s fireman and building manager. But when Krawiec’s union’s hourly wage was raised, Temco — a Department of Education contractor — dropped Krawiec for someone from a different union, Local 94 representatives said.

“I was interviewed for the building twice, did three walk-throughs,” Krawiec said. Temco’s Vice President, Jim Sutherland, had gone as far as discussing pay and medical benefits with him in April 2009, Krawiec added.

Local 94 maintains that Krawiec was denied the job because just as Temco was deciding who to hire, the union’s prevailing wage was raised to $24.77 per hour from about $20 per hour.

Temco spokesman Dan Jacobs dismissed Local 94’s allegations, adding, “Temco is committed to a unionized workforce.”

Union representative Raymond Macco worries Krawiec’s experience is part of a trend. “Every school that’s above 55,000 square foot in this [school] system has a Local 94 member, except for this school and the other new schools,” Macco said. “Since this prevailing wage determination came out, we feel Temco is trying to circumvent Local 94.”

Corinne Vinal, the principal of the new school, refused to comment.

Students seemed generally unaffected by — and disinterested in — the demonstration. Michelle Clara, 13, was running late to her first 9th grade class. She said she was happy to be going to Sunset Park High School instead of Telecommunication, a public high school further away.

One Response to “Union Protests Disrupt Opening of Sunset Park High School”

  1. PEALTLALL says:

    Other variant is possible also

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